Virginia NAACP submits maps as redistricting process continues

The Virginia NAACP's version of House District 11.
The Virginia NAACP's version of House District 11.(Photo: Virginia NAACP)
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 5:50 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - As Virginia’s House, Senate and Congressional district lines are redrawn, one organization says more changes need to be made.

The Virginia NAACP says more work needs to be done to ensure communities of color are given an equal vote.

This comes as special masters appointed by the state Supreme Court draw lines that will impact the state’s future.

“The special masters should adjust their initial district lines to more closely represent Black communities of interest,” said Robert Barnette, Jr., Virginia NAACP president.

They say communities of color have been packed into smaller districts or split up historically.

They say the issue extends to Roanoke, where they’re advocating for a redrawing of the current House District 11.

“We’ve given that to the special masters and the court. We hope that they take it under advisement and make adjustments but we also want the option to further comment on the maps before they’re adopted,” said Ryan Snow with Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

They say if adjustments are made, the recent Census data should be taken into account.

Currently the special masters are using American Community Survey data, which they say negatively impacts communities of color.

“This flaw has led special masters to in some cases overestimate Black voting strength, specifically rendering districts less effective in electing candidates of choice,” said Barnette.

They say more public hearings should be done in the future.

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